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University of Iowa News Release

 

May 12, 2008

Nosikova will play three rarely performed piano concertos May 20

Pianist Ksenia Nosikova from the University of Iowa School of Music will play three rarely performed concertos by major 19th-century composers on a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Nosikova will be accompanied for the concert by the Pro Corde Consort under the direction of Will LaRue Jones, UI director of orchestral studies. The Pro Corde Consort is a chamber orchestra of professional musicians, including faculty and students from the UI School of Music and guest artists.

The three works on the program will be the Concerto in A minor for piano and string orchestra, by Mendelssohn; Concerto in C major for piano and chamber orchestra by Muzio Clementi; and "Malediction" (Curse) for piano and strings by Franz Liszt.

"The concertos on the program are very little-known works by three famous masters," Nosikova said. "Each work has a significant musical substance, is well-crafted and written for an interesting medium of solo piano and chamber orchestra."

The program is part of a recording project for which Nosikova received funding from the UI Office of the Vice President for Research, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Music. The recording, featuring Nosikova, Jones and the Pro Corde Consort, will start on Wednesday, May 21, in Clapp Recital Hall.

Nosikova is also preparing an edition of the Clementi concerto.

UI music faculty members in the Pro Corde Consort are Katie Wolfe, violin; Christine Rutledge, viola; Volkan Orhon, double bass; Mark Weiger, oboe; Benjamin Coelho, bassoon; Jeffrey Agrell and Kristin Thelander, horn; David Greenhoe, trumpet; and Dan Moore, timpani. Other members of the group include professional musicians from the Florida West Coast Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony.

Liszt wrote his "Malediction" while he was in his 20s, though its precise origins remain unknown. In 1835 he was preparing to set out on a major concert tour when his mistress, Marie d'Agoult, became pregnant and the couple fled from Paris to Switzerland. "Malediction" may have been planned for the tour, but it is also possible that it was based on a lost piano concerto Liszt composed while in his teens. The piece remained unpublished until 1914.

Liszt made several notes in the score that suggest a programmatic interpretation. The opening theme is labeled "Malediction" (curse), which is used as the title for the piece as a whole. A melodramatic melody introduced by the piano above a string accompaniment is labeled "orquiel" (pride). Later, a lush cello theme is marked "pleurs-angoisses-reves" (tears-anguish-dreams) and lighter music is labeled "raillery" (jesting).

Written in 1822 when Mendelssohn was 13, the Concerto in A minor was first performed in Berlin in December 1822 with the composer as soloist. Modeled after Johann Nepomuk Hummel's A minor piano concerto, Op.85, it was not published until 1961.

Clementi (1752-1832) is best known for two influential pedagogical works, "Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Piano Forte" (1801) and the comprehensive keyboard collection of piano studies, "Gradus ad Parnassum" (1817-26). He was also a brilliant concert virtuoso, respected symphonic composer and orchestral conductor. He was a successful piano manufacturer and music publisher. He was among the first composers to write expressly for the capabilities of the pianoforte.

The Concerto in C major was composed about 1794, but Clementi's original manuscript is lost. The work survives in a copy made by Johann Schenk in 1796, now in the library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of the friends of music) in Vienna. The concerto has outer movements full of brilliant virtuoso writing and a contrasting cantabile and highly embellished central Adagio movement.

Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe and South America. She has been invited to perform at international festivals Europe as well as the Aspen and Sarasota Music Festivals in the United States. Among her recordings are the complete "Years of Pilgrimage" by Franz Liszt, released by Centaur Records to critical acclaim. For more, see: www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/PIANOnosikova.htm

A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. The founding director of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. See: www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDjones.htm

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at www.uiowa.edu/~music/.

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